(From Harvey Arden)
NO DOUBT, MY NAME will soon be among the list of our Indian dead. At least I will have good company--for no finer, kinder, braver, wiser, worthier men and women have ever walked this Earth than those who have already died for being Indian.
Our dead keep coming at us, a long, long line of dead, ever-growing and never-ending. To list all their names would be impossible, for the great, great majority of us have died unknown, unacknowledged. Yes, even our dead have been stolen from us, uprooted from our memory just as the bones of our honored ancestors have been dishonored by being dug up from their graves and shipped to museums to be boxed and catalogued and hidden away in file-drawers, denied that final request and right of every human being: a decent burial in Mother Earth and proper ceremonies of remembrance to light the way to the Afterworld.
Yes, the roll call of our Indian dead needs to be cried out, to be shouted from every hilltop in order to shatter the terrible silence that tries to erase the fact that we ever existed.
I would like to see a redstone wall like the blackstone wall of the Vietnam War Memorial. Yes, right there on the Mall in Washington, D.C. And on that redstone wall--pigmented with the living blood of our people (and I would happily be the first to donate that blood)--would be the names of all the Indians who ever died for being Indian. It would be hundreds of times longer than the Vietnam Memorial, which commemorates the deaths of fewer than 60,000 brave lost souls. The number of our brave lost souls reaches into the many millions, and every one of them remains unquiet until this day.
Yes, the voices of Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, of Buddy Lamont and Frank Clearwater, of Joe Stuntz and Dallas Thundershield, of Wesley Bad Heart Bull and Raymond Yellow Thunder, of Bobby Garcia and Anna Mae Aquash... those and so, so many others. Their stilled voices cry out at us and demand to be heard.
Here I am,
locked in my own shadow for nearly a quarter of a century,
and yet I can reach my hand through stone and steel and razor-wire
and touch the heart of the world. Yes, even your heart, my enemy, my
Mitakuye Oyasin, my Lakota brethren say.
We are all related. We are One.
Sometimes in the shadowed night
I become spirit.
The walls, the bars, the gratings dissolve into light
and I unloose my soul
and fly through the inner darkness of my being.
I become transparent,
a bright shadow,
a bird of dreams singing from the tree of life.